Acceptance: Fifth Step in Conquering Grief

Carol McClain

Ps. 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Recently a terrible accident happened at a Volkswagon plant in Chattanooga. A car somehow ran out of control and ploughed down three people. One died. Two are critical.

One of the two critically injured people is a good friend’s niece.

Today is a time to mourn for my friend. Worry and sorrow are sure to weight her, but we need to remember Ecclesiastes 3: 4. There is “A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.” 

My friend will never dance because of the events that happened to her family, but in the process of time, joy will return, and she will laugh and dance and rejoice in the life God has given her.

The last stage of grief is acceptance. What does acceptance look like? How can we accept the fact a tired man fell asleep at the wheel and ruined three lives?

What does acceptance of grief look like?

According to the University of Washington, “Acceptance doesn’t mean not experiencing distress, emotions or trauma. It does not mean you condone what is happening. It means noticing what you are fighting against, validating your desire to fight against it, and re-orienting yourself to the reality of the moment you are in. It means not getting stuck, or getting un-stuck, from other stages. Mindfulness and a non-judgmental, curious attitude can be a big help.”



can look like: can feel like:
mindful behaviors “good enough”
engaging with reality as it is courageous
“this is how it is right now” validation
being present in the moment self-compassion
able to be vulnerable & tolerate emotions pride
assertive, non-defensive, honest communication wisdom
adapting, coping, responding skillfully

Anyone following my blog knows I’ve been cycling through the stages of grief. Many painful things happened in a short span of time. Today, I’m in the world of acceptance.

Looking at the above chart, I find mindful behaviors and being present in the moment have helped me tremendously. I listen to birdsong or the wind whistling down the hollow. I try to smell the world around me (I do hold my breath when the buzzards are feasting on decomp.) The scent of pine or roses makes me smile. I look for things I haven’t noticed before–a strange pattern in a tree stump or an animal image in a rock.  I touch moss. Taste the sweetness of goat’s milk. I relish each detail.

As you cope, look for life and non-harmful things that bring you pleasure.

Yes, with acceptance you’ll still cycle around the other stages, however, eventually, you’ll heal.

Six months after my mother’s passing, and three months after my brother, I’m finally able to celebrate joy more than pain. This doesn’t mean all hurt will disappear.

What really cures your grief?

More than the psychology from the University of Washington, Scripture comforts me. I recall Matthew 5:4. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

God will comfort me.

Ps. 30:5 “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”

God promises pain will not last forever.

More than reading Scripture, worship is my key to life. Currently, my favorite is by Andrew Ripp, a beautiful song called “Roses.” The line that characterizes me at this stage is this: “Love is the blood red stain, the beauty that the pain exposes.”

Our pain brings beauty into sharp relief.

Be at peace in your pain. The searing hurt will ease. Love and beauty will resurrect.

The five stages of grief–click on the links to learn more.
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance.


Meredith Jaynes Knows About Grieving and Healing.

Book three, Tangled Lives, comes out in July. You’ll want to read book one: Borrowed Lives.

Meredith Jaynes, an artisan, cycles through the stages of grief and then she finds three girls abandoned by their parents. If she turns them over to CPS they’ll be separated. If she takes them? What the heck would she do with three waifs?

You’ll laugh, cry, and grow as you read this novel.





  1. Carol, you’re writing an excellent series on grief and your analogy with Borrowed Lives is perfect. I hope things are getting better for you, slowly to be sure, but moving forward. Prayers upward for you daily.

    • Carol McClain says:

      I’ve turned a corner in my grief–obviously not gone. Thank you for your faithfulness.

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